10 forgotten wonders of 1980s homes

Geoffrey Oltmans oltmansg at gmail.com
Thu Dec 31 11:40:40 CST 2015

On Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 10:58 AM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at sydex.com> wrote:

> Several times.  When the weather improves and they start working again,
> I'll corral a tech and ask him to open one up for photos.  They're great
> guys to a man/womam.  It's a big cabinet--perhaps 10-12 feed long. There
> are smaller cabinets there too, but they're mostly filled with wire.
> What surprises me is the age of the customer copper. Folks around here
> feed from individual pedestals on the road, using 5-pair buried cable
> that's probably 30 or more years old to the residence.  When the local REC
> (rural electrical cooperative) came through about 5 years ago to replace
> the buried individual 12KV customer feeds, it would have been a golden
> opportunity to bury new customer lines, sadly ignored.  So while my
> electrical goes along the driveway from the disconnect on the road to the
> transformer in my yard, the telco buried wire wanders across the property
> among the trees until it finally enters the house.
There's a lot of pressure to reuse old copper. As you indicate, there's a
ton of it still in the ground and it's not easy in a lot of cases to dig it
up or replace, plus it's already invested in, wholesale replacement costs
money, and if you don't have to, why bother? In multi-unit housing, it may
not be economically feasible or practical to retrofit the building to use
anything but the existing wiring. As a result, you see a lot of
fiber-to-the-node installations or fiber-to-the-distribution-point,
particularly in established rural applications. The death of copper has
been preached since I started into this business. Back then copper's savior
was HDSL, and ever since there's been some other xDSL technology
improvements to squeeze more out of the existing copper plant.

So, I'd say realistically you're likely to see copper for a good while
longer, but it is getting pushed farther and farther to the edges of the
networks. I'm happy for it to stick around for as long as possible. :)
Eventually xPON will supplant it, and the Cable company and Telco networks
will look virtually identical.

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